Tutorial: Clothespin Pocket Apron


Now, before my friends are all “look, she’s actually doing chores,” I need to explain something first. If you’ve heard that Dan does the housework around here, that’s only partially true.  He does most of the sweeping and dusting because he finds my dust-induced asthma attacks extremely annoying. He also does most of the cooking, because he enjoys it, but he won’t touch the oven, so I do all the baking.  He can also do laundry, but quite honestly, our clothes sleep much better at night if I’m the one who handles that chore.  Let’s just say that his laundry “technique” is lacking.

For the first time in years I now have a clothesline in my back yard. Three of the four lines are missing, and the one that remains is in need of replacement, but that can be fixed eventually. I still have enough room to hang out a load of laundry, and I’m not heating up the house by running the dryer all afternoon. Oh, and I’m saving money, too!  I’m sure that my enthusiasm over a clothesline is shocking to anyone who knows me, but you’ll just have to accept this strange behavior. 

After hanging out the first load on my new/old clothesline, I realized that keeping clothespins in a plastic grocery bag just wasn’t going to work for me, and reaching up and into a bag, whether it’s a grocery bag or something made specifically for this purpose, just wasn’t very comfortable. I needed something waist-high.

An internet search revealed several great patterns for clothespin aprons and a variety of aprons, which would eliminate the need to reach up and into a bag, but all I really wanted was a small pocket to tie around my waist, not a full-size apron with a huge pocket.  I didn’t want to use a lot of fabric, either.  After a few quick sketches, I came up with some measurements for this quick and easy pocket with apron strings.  A simple pouch would work well for this application, but I added a pleat to give myself a little more room for my hand to reach in, as well as for some extra clothespins. The finished apron measures 7-1/2″ wide by 16″ tall (from the bottom of the pocket to the top of the waistband), and the pocket is 12″ deep.
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Buttercup Bag

There are quite a few bag tutorials on the internet these days, but I have to say that the Buttercup Bag from Made by Rae is one of the best (and cutest!) I’ve ever come across.  I saw photos and references to this tutorial on several blogs, and just couldn’t resist it.  Rae provides a beautifully done pattern and instructions for download, and this bag is not only easy, but requires very little fabric as well.  If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you know that I usually change things up a bit when I use other crafters’ patterns.  My only changes here were strap length and construction, the use of a button loop on one bag instead of a magnetic snap, and the addition of heavyweight interfacing on my bag linings.

On both bags, I made the straps with a 5″-wide strip of fabric folded in half lengthwise, then in half again (with raw edges on the inside), and topstitched both edges.  I attached the ends of the straps between the lining and the outside, instead of sewing them to the outside of the bag.  One bag has a shoulder strap, and the other strap is shorter.  I will probably omit the strap on the next one I make.

If you carry a lot of stuff in your bag, this one probably won’t work for you, but it’s so much fun to make, you might want to make a few for gifts.

Little Spring Floral Tote Bag

Spring Floral Tote Bag

I apologize for my lengthy absence from this blog.  I never intended to be away for so long, but due to a physically demanding part-time job with often grueling hours, and an all-out search for a full-time job that won’t kill me, I’ve lacked the time, energy, and motivation to sew.  I decided over the weekend that sewing might make me feel a little better, and since I had come across this great tutorial from Cicada Daydreams, I thought I’d dust off the sewing machine and give it a try.  I’m so glad I did! Not only did I make myself a great little tote bag, but now I also feel like I can begin to take on other sewing projects again without being overwhelmed.

I call this tote bag “little” because it’s not your typical shopping-size bag.  It finished to approximately 11-1/2″ x 9″ x 3″, which is still large enough to hold some reading materials and a few other essentials.  One thing I really like about this design is the accent fabric on the bottom, which also serves to make the bag sturdier.  I made my bag as directed in the tutorial, except that I fused lightweight interfacing to my lining because my floral fabric was very soft, and I used a different construction technique* for the strap.

Even if you’re not interested in sewing a tote bag, do go take a look at Cicada Daydreams.  It’s a lovely blog.

*Strap construction – I cut two 4″ x 13″ strips, pressed the long raw edges to the center, then folded in half and pressed again to enclose the raw edges. I then top-stitched the long edges. This resulted in sturdy 1″-wide straps.

Spring Floral Tote Bag

Classic Tote

Classic Tote 

Classic Tote

I usually greet the New Year with enthusiasm. No resolutions, just excitement over a fresh span of time stretching out in front of me, waiting for new projects and ideas.  But so far, I’ve had a bit of a motivation problem in 2009, with little energy to execute the ideas that I do have.  The solution, I know, is to start with something simple that stands half a chance of being completed instead of being put away after only a few stitches, never to see the light of day again.

This Classic Tote from Sew, Mama, Sew! was exactly what I needed. It’s a simple, unlined shopping tote that’s sturdy enough to hold up to some rough treatment at the supermarket.  My favorite feature is the use of French seams, which not only hide the raw edges of the fabric, but add some strength to the bag as well.  I made two of these in one short evening, with minor changes to the instructions.  I left off the pocket and made the bag slightly smaller because I wanted to cut both totes from a very limited amount of fabric.  I also made the handles shorter, because I’m short and more often than not, my shopping bags end up dragging the ground.

Now that I’m back in the creative saddle, I’ll be working on an easy bag with an exterior pocket, which I hope to show you in a couple of days.

Picnic Bag

I think this bag is going to be my favorite.  I love that you can open it almost flat to easily find your stuff.  I won’t be using it as a handbag because it might be too easy for small items to fall out, but it’s called a picnic bag, and it will be perfect for carrying snacks to the beach.  Since on occasion it will likely be holding a significant amount of weight, I will be doing something to reinforce the handles, and I may use another method to attach the handles on the next one I make.

You can find a pattern and instructions for the picnic bag, along with some other great tutorials, at sewtakeahike.